The rise of modernism saw the development of art which is reflexive, which draws attention to itself and its facture, as well as the illusion of representation, making us “reflect” on what art is and how it affects the viewer. Many different kinds of art utilised strategies to address the viewer and to explore subjective responses involved in viewing. This course is designed to enable students to develop their own reflexivity and critical awareness through a study of the “classic” movements of the Twentieth Century, such as Cubism, Dada, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop and Conceptual Art and contemporary art.

The course aims to show that an important function of art is to enhance the ability to see the world from a number of different perspectives increasing the breadth and depth of a viewer’s self-awareness. An essential, underlying theme is how the viewer’s vision is addressed and explored in the art of the Twentieth Century, and how the gaze is related to the construction of the viewer’s own identity. Not only do the art works of these different periods challenge the viewer imaginatively to adopt a multiplicity of identities and roles, they also reflect back different conceptual, emotional, psychological, political and social ways of seeing.

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